Case details

Car cash’s parties both claimed right of way at intersection





Result type

Not present

back, bruise, chest, fracture
At approximately 3:15 p.m. on Feb. 27, 2008, plaintiff Stan Art, 45, a San Francisco Elections Department employee, was accompanied by his three children as he drove south on Skyline Boulevard. As they entered the intersection with Zoo Road, their vehicle was involved in a broadside collision with a vehicle operated by Dorcas Bender, who was attempting a left turn from eastbound Zoo Road onto northbound Skyline Boulevard. Art claimed to his neck, back, left shoulder and chest from the crash. Art sued Bender. He alleged the defendant was negligent in the operation of her vehicle. The case was referred to non-binding arbitration, which resulted in an award of $31,000. The arbitration decision was rejected by the defendant, and the matter proceeded to an expedited jury trial. At trial, Art contended that Bender was driving inattentively and failed to yield the right of way. He alleged that as he entered the intersection, he suddenly saw Bender in his path of travel and did not have time to apply his brakes. As a result, Art crashed into the left side of Bender’s vehicle and then proceeded for an additional 180 feet south along Skyline Boulevard, according to the reporting police officer. Bender claimed that Art was was speeding, driving 56 mph in a 45 mph zone, and caused the crash. She alleged that she stopped for a stop sign at the intersection in question before pulling out into the roadway, thus establishing her right of way., Art was transported from the scene of the accident by ambulance and brought to an emergency room. He was seen at a hospital twice, during which X-rays were essentially normal and a subsequent MRI revealed a possible thoracic end-plate fracture at the T-7 level. Art then followed up with a chiropractor for four months to treat strains and sprains to his neck, mid-back and left, non-dominant shoulder. Art claimed he had residual back, neck and shoulder pain for three months, but his chest bruise healed on its own within months. He alleged that his day-to-day activities subsequently were affected for four months, but that he was back to his pre-accident status within nine months. Thus, Art claimed $9,584.70 in past medical costs, and asked the jury for $20,000 in damages, including for his pain and suffering. Defense counsel argued that if Bender was found liable, the jury should award the plaintiff only a portion of the chiropractic bills, all of the Fire and San Francisco General Hospital bills, and a modest pain and suffering award. Prior to trial, the parties entered into a $25,000/$7,500 high/low agreement.
Superior Court of San Francisco County, San Francisco, CA

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